weight loss

A ‘replace me’ signal from dying brown fat fires up weight loss

  • NEWS AND VIEWS
  • 12 July 2022

Brown fat in the body converts energy into heat. The discovery that inosine molecules are released from dying brown fat and induce heat production in nearby brown fat cells could point to a way of combating obesity.

  1. Katrien De Bock
    1. Katrien De Bock is in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich 8603, Switzerland.

  2. Christian Wolfrum
    1. Christian Wolfrum is in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich 8603, Switzerland.

Almost 60% of adults and nearly one-third of children in Europe are overweight or obese (see go.nature.com/3bsIjrd). Beyond lifestyle interventions, effective therapies to reduce obesity mostly involve surgery, so new, less-invasive strategies are required. A type of fat known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) is currently the subject of interest as a target for weight-loss intervention, because it burns calories by releasing stored energy in organelles called mitochondria and converting it to heat — a process called thermogenesis 1 , 2 . Evidence indicates that the activity of BAT is associated with reduced weight and improved metabolic health 1 . Writing in Nature , Niemann et al. 3 outline a previously unknown regulatory pathway governing the activity of BAT that could potentially be targeted for therapeutic weight loss.

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doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-01826-5

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Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

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